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EXPLAINED: New smoking rules only hours away

New smoking laws will come into effect on February 1.
New smoking laws will come into effect on February 1. Warren Lynam

FEBRUARY 1 will see more changes to smoking laws and restrictions in Queensland.

Only five months after overhauls of the laws, next month will mark the start of smoking being banned in national parks within 10 metres of in-use campsites and public facilities including picnic tables, barbecues, visitor information centres, shelters, jetties and boat ramps.

The Queensland Government states that the laws are changing in an attempt to create a non-smoking culture that gives adults support when trying to quit and discourages kids to take up the dangerous habit.

Heart Foundation Queensland CEO, Stephen Vines, said extension of the smoke-free areas to include campsites was common sense.

Stephen Vines
Stephen Vines

"We are lucky enough to live in a State where we have plenty of great places to camp, picnic and enjoy the outdoors," said Mr Vines.

"But the joy of the great outdoors can be ruined when you are consuming other peoples' cigarette smoke," he said.

"It isn't just an atmosphere killer, it can be a real killer as passive smoking increases a person's risk of having a heart attack."

It is estimated that 800,000 Queenslanders are frequently exposed to second-hand smoke.

"We want to see Queenslanders live a full, healthy and productive life," said Mr Vines. 

Mackay residents are not surprised by the changes, with smokers encouraging the laws to help themselves and others kick the habit.

We asked around town to see what local smokers thought of the new laws:

Jess: "I do agree with it, I think it's good especially for kids. Anybody who wants to quit, it's the best time for them if that's what they want to do. With all these laws, anyone will be able to (quit) now if they really want to."

Jack: "It's good for other people who don't smoke. If we smoke (close to shopping centre doors) then there's people there and the smoke will go inside. It's good for them to not have to take the smoke smell. But still, if people are going to smoke they're going to smoke."

Dwayne: "I think it's a pretty good thing. It stops passive smoking for young kids and stuff. Cigarettes are going to keep going up and up and up in price, I reckon that will stop a few people. It depends how strict they are with it."

September's new law changes saw a ban on smoking within five metres of public transport waiting points, early childhood centres and kindergartens, aged care facilities and non-residential building entrance, 10 metres of playing and viewing areas of under-18 sports events and skate parks, and banned smoking entirely at public pools and pedestrian areas around certain state government buildings.

This is in addition to smoking bans at all outdoor public areas, in vehicles with children under 16, at indoor and outdoor eating and drinking venues outside of designated areas, schools and other educational facilities, and hospitals and other healthcare precincts.

Current laws

Outdoor public areas:

  • no smoking at outdoor public places such as patrolled beaches, children's playground equipment and major sports stadiums

Smoking in vehicles:

  • no smoking in cars where children under the age of 16 years are present

Eating or drinking venues:

  • no smoking anywhere inside pubs, clubs, restaurants and workplaces
  • no smoking at commercial outdoor eating or drinking areas

Educational facilities:

  • no smoking at state and non-state schools, and for 5 metres beyond their boundaries

Hospitals, healthcare and residential aged care facilities:

  • no smoking at public and private hospitals and health facilities, and for 5 metres beyond their boundaries

Tobacco sales:

  • no sales of tobacco products to children under 18 years of age
  • mandatory training of employees who sell tobacco products
  • bans on the display of tobacco products at retail outlets
  • mandatory no-smoking and quit smoking signs at retail outlets
  • no tobacco advertising or competitions
  • tobacco vending machines must be located in bar or poker machine areas only

Electronic cigarettes:

  • electronic cigarettes cannot be used in no-smoking indoor and outdoor areas, sold to children under 18 years of age, or advertised, promoted or displayed at retail outlets.

Changes at September 1, 2016

  • no smoking within 5 metres of public transport waiting points such as bus stops, taxi ranks, and ferry terminals
  • no smoking within 10 metres of playing and viewing areas during organised under-18 sporting events
  • no smoking within 10 metres of skate parks
  • no smoking within 5 metres of early childhood education and care services, kindergartens, and after school hour care
  • no smoking at all outdoor pedestrian malls
  • no smoking within 5 metres of all residential aged care facilities, outside of designated areas
  • smoke free buffer increases to 5 metres at all non-residential building entrances
  • no smoking at pedestrian precincts around prescribed state government buildings
  • no smoking at public swimming pool facilities
  • tobacco products cannot be sold from temporary retail outlets
  • local government can ban smoking in any public space not covered by a state-wide smoking bans

Source: Queensland Health

Topics:  february 1 general-seniors-news smoking smoking laws state government


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